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Mevis’ 61-yard FG lifts Missouri past No. 15 Kansas State

by Kyle McAreavy | September 17, 2023 at 1:32 a.m.
Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis watches the game-winning field goal on the final play of Saturday’s game against Kansas State at Faurot Field in Columbia. Missouri won the game 30-27. (Associated Press)

COLUMBIA -- With six seconds left, Missouri spiked the ball.

The Tigers had it on the Kansas State 39 and huddled near the sideline, but forgot the play clock was winding down.

A delay of game was called, moving the Tigers back to the 44 and after an incomplete pass, out came Harrison Mevis for a 61-yard field goal.

“We call our specialist group snipers,” Mevis said. “Because you got one shot one kill. And you’ve got to be dialed in for that one kill.”

And dialed in he was.

Kansas state called a timeout, then Mevis sent the ball flying, just far enough to clear the crossbar for the longest field goal in SEC history and send the Missouri fans onto Faurot Field with a 30-27 win against the No. 15 Wildcats, the Tigers’ first win against a top-20 opponent since 2018.

“It’s not always as fast as everybody wants it to be, or as fast as I want it to be,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “I think this is a step in the right direction and affirms the things that we believe in.”

Missouri was set up for the field-rushing win by a stellar game from quarterback Brady Cook.

Cook had a career-high 356 yards on 23-of-35 passing and two touchdowns to go with a rushing touchdown.

“This is my dream school, all I want to do is play quarterback here,” Cook said. “I’d like everyone else to want me to play quarterback here, too. That would be a nice feeling. Games like this will probably help.”

Kansas State’s offense drove 75 yards on 11 plays to open the game and on third-and-goal from the 10, a Will Howard pass was batted into the air at the goal line and into the hands of Phillip Brooks crossing behind for a touchdown. Chris Tennant hit the extra point to put the Wildcats up 7-0 with 10:46 left in the first.

Then Cook and the Missouri offense came out firing.

Cook ran on the first two plays, then connected with Cody Schrader on third down to move the sticks before keeping a draw for 5 yards and hitting Theo Wease across the middle for another first. With the ball on the Kansas State 47, Cook hurled a deep pass to Luther Burden well behind the back of Kansas State’s coverage for a 47-yard touchdown.

“I feel like I’m getting more comfortable as the season goes on,” Burden said. “I go against a great defense every day. … They’ve got me prepared all the way from spring until now.”

Mevis hit the extra point to tie the matchup at 7 with 7:57 left in the first.

Missouri’s defense got great pressure on Kansas State’s next drive, leading to a Kris Abrams-Draine interception on third down, gaining the ball for the Tigers at the Wildcats’ 47.

Cook connected with Burden for 15 yards, then found him two plays later on a screen. Burden worked his way across the field behind some excellent blocking, but one missed block kept him from the end zone as he was stopped on the 14.

The Tiger offense stalled and Mevis came on to kick a 30-yard field goal with 3:58 left in the quarter, putting Missouri up 10-7.

Both teams had a scoreless drive, then Kansas State was able to get chunk yardage on the way to a 10-play, 64-yard drive ending with a Howard pass to Ben Sinnott from the 3 with 10:05 left in the first half. Tennant’s kick put the Wildcats up 14-10.

Missouri answered right back when Cook connected with Mookie Cooper for a 41-yard gain on the first play of the drive, then found Brett Norfleet, who held on through contact near the sideline for a 27-yard gain. Missouri got to the 2 on the next three plays, then on fourth down, Cook faked an end-around flip to Burden and ran in his rushing touchdown to put the Tigers back in front 17-14 with 7:36 left in the first half.

“Biggest call of the game was the fourth-and-goal,” Drinkwitz said. “Coach (Kirby) Moore had dialed up a great play call there and Brady did an excellent job.”

It was the final score of the first half, as Missouri went into halftime up 3.

Kansas State tied the game again on its first drive of the second half, getting from its own 44 to Missouri’s 28 in six plays before Tennant connected on a 46-yard field goal with 10:07 left. The Wildcats then forced a Tiger punt before putting together a 12-play, 74-yard drive ending with Howard faking a quarterback draw and hitting a jump throw to Sinnott for a 3-yard touchdown. Tennant’s extra point put Kansas State up 24-17 with 1:39 left in the third.

Missouri cut the deficit when Cook fit consecutive tight passes into small openings to Wease and Marquis Johnson for a combined 68 yards, then Mevis hit a 25-yard field goal with 14:48 left to play.

The teams went back and forth with three consecutive punts, then Missouri started on its own 23 with 8:53 left to play.

Schrader broke a 35-yard run, which was more yards than the Tigers had rushing to that point, and a face mask penalty was added to the end to put Missouri at the Kansas State 26.

Cook then pump faked a deep throw before tossing to Burden behind the line. Burden beat his defender to the sideline, then cut behind a downfield block for a 26-yard touchdown with 8:24 left to play. Mevis’ extra point put the Tigers up 27-24 with 8:24 left.

Kansas State was able to put together an extended drive in response, leading to a Tennant 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 27 with 5:25 left.

A Missouri punt and defensive stop later, the Tigers put together a 2-minute drill drive with 1:25 left to set up Mevis’ game winner.

“We took the lead in the fourth, we gave it back, there were several loss of momentum opportunities,” Drinkwitz said. “And we just kept fighting. That’s the type of game that we need as a team, as an organization.”

Along with Cook’s line, Burden surpassed 100 receiving yards for the second consecutive game with 114 on seven catches, while Wease had 72 yards on six catches, Cooper had 79 on four receptions, Norfleet had 40 on two catches and Johnson had 42 on his lone reception. Schrader ended with 58 rushing yards on 10 attempts to lead the Tigers’ 74 total rushing yards on 28 attempts.

“It makes it tough on the defense,” Cook said of having five receivers top 40 yards. “They’re worried about more guys, they know they can’t just key on Luther or whoever it is. I think spreading the ball around is always a good thing.”

Howard was 25-of-39 for 270 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for Kansas State, with three receivers totaling five catches. 

Sinnott had five catches for 78 yards, Treshaun Ward had five for 61 and Brooks had five for 50, while Jadon Jackson had four receptions for 47 yards. Ward led the Wildcats’ rushing attack with 54 yards on 10 tries. Kansas state rushed for 138 yards on 35 attempts.

Missouri, which is 3-0 for the first time since 2018, will try for its first 4-0 start since 2013 -- when it started the season 7-0 -- when it plays Memphis (3-0) at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU).


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